Did you know that before, whale sharks would only visit the Maldives during the South-West monsoon season which runs from May to October? Now, they can be seen around the warm waters of the Indian Ocean all year round, particularly in the South Ari Atoll where Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa is located. Our island's prime location puts us in proximity to whale shark spots. Some guests have even been lucky enough to see whale sharks directly on our house reef!
Known as the largest fish in the world, whale sharks belong to the shark family. They swim by moving side to side, unlike sharks, which use their tails for swimming. As their bodies weigh around 20.6 tonnes, it is no wonder that they move so slowly. Despite their size, whale sharks are docile creatures. In Vilamendhoo, there are plenty of opportunities to swim with whale sharks. Through regularly scheduled excursions, you can take a trip to known whale shark points where if lucky, you can spot, swim and photograph these gentle giants. These excursions are the whale shark excursion, the family adventurer full day excursion and the ocean discovery full-day excursion.
While swimming with whale sharks, it is essential to remember to respect their space. Always listen to your guide, and do as instructed for your safety and the whale sharks' safety. As a general rule, you should always stay 10 feet away from the whale shark's tail, to avoid being accidentally swatted, and about 3 feet away from the head. Do not attempt to touch or feed a whale shark. Observing these safety rules will ensure you have a pleasant experience swimming with the majestic creatures.
Here are some of our favourite photos captured by past guests.
Image by @sergeykbn.
Image by @karel_frait.